SUSE 11.2: Very nice, but networkmanager still doesn't like me

Now finally yesterday I installed OpenSUSE 11.2 on my notebook (this one).

Installation went very smooth, and it seems all the hardware components were recognized automatically, 3D graphics, even WLAN.

Only issue, it still seems modern networking (aka networkmanager) doesn't like me. Or I am too stupid.

So once again I tried to use networkmanager, from a KDE4 workspace (correct term ? I didn't look up...)

So, what happened.
When I installed SUSE, it asked me for the configuration of the network hardware, including WLAN. I entered essid, encryption etc.
Wired network was working, that's good.

Then I looked at the networkmanager applet (correct term ?) in the panel.

There I saw the eth0 connection as active. So far good. This was correct. I tried to disable it. So I clicked on that icon. It activated the already active connection again. Hmm. I didn't find a way to disable it.
I went to the "Configure connections" dialog.
No wired connection there, although it was clearly working and also displayed in the menu.
Also no wireless connection, although I entered all the data during installation.

So I tried to get a wireless connection first.
This is now my biggest issue with network manager.
I entered all the connection data, and the connection appeared on the list were I could chose connections.
I clicked on it.
It did nothing. I mean nothing. No "Success" message, no "Sorry, something went wrong" message, just nothing. And I think I really tried all things in the UI.

The eth0 connection also said "system connection", so I thought maybe that's way I can't disable it. So I went to yast, which told me "networking is managed by network manager, you can't change the settings here".
Hmm. I tried a few times, until I skipped that message, switched in yast to traditional style networking, and disabled the "start on boot" option for eth0, then switched to network manager again.
Still no luck, I was not able to disable eth0 and to enable wlan0.

So I gave up on network manager once more.
Something must be very wrong here. Apparently there must be people for which it is working, for me it never did anything :-/

So, back to yast, I switched to traditional networking (ifup/ifdown) and "Manual" activation of the interfaces (since I didn't find a way to specify that eth0 should be active if plugged in, but if not plugged in, it should try wlan, and disable wlan again if eth0 is plugged in).
This didn't go too smooth.
Yast disabled the networking due to this, ok, and then tried to download two additionally required packages from the online SUSE repository.
Obviuosly this failed, and it told that this is quite bad. Hmm, so what.
I also checked the checkbox "make device available to kinternet". It didn't install kinternet automatically.

So, obvious next step, I manually enabled eth (ifup), went to yast again, installed the failed packages and also manually selected kinternet, and voila, basically I got it working.
It would be even nicer if in this case kinternet would be started automatically for all users when logging in to KDE, but that's not a big thing.

So now I have eth0 and wlan0 working nicely, and can enable/disable them via kinternet.

The big good news about this: SUSE automatically chose a working kernel module for my wlan card. That's the first time with this notebook, SUSE 11.1 chose a non-working one, and so did the factory-installed kubuntu. Now this time it was just working :-)

Anything else I could complain about... hmm... not much.
I'm not sure why cmake is listed in the "KDE development" section and not in the general "C/C++ development" section, I think it should be there.
Also, if cmake is installed and Qt4 is installed, I think cmake-gui should be also automatically installed, i.e. it should at least be part of the "KDE development" preselection.

Beside all that, together with some FreeBSD, Solaris, kdeutils and Kitware guys we are in the process of setting up Nightly builds for several KDE modules using CDash, look for the the kde-related projects at http://my.cdash.org, hosted by Kitware.
It's almost in a state that it can be announced, what's still not done is proper documentation how to set Nightly builds up, and we're still fiddling with more fine-grained email notifications. But this will come :-)

Happy new year

P.S. this year I won't be at FOSDEM, but most probably Akademy :-)


* You can't disable wired or wireless connections (overriding NM policy) with the version of NM shipped with 11.2. If you call deactivateConnection(), it just brings the connection back up again as you noticed. The next version (0.8) will finally allow this, and the UI is ready

* NM gives no feedback (except in /var/log/messages) if it doesn't like a connection provided by a client. It just pretends that object path isn't there. It could return an error, but it prefers to invert the 'be tolerant in what you accept, and strict in what you send' maxim. If you look at the logfile from when KNM is started you can see what it disliked about the connection then I can fix it.

* I haven't implemented support for editing system connections yet. It's a lot of work. An NM plugin imports the settings written by YaST but doesn't seem to delete its versions of them again (from /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/) if the YaST connection is deleted.

By Will Stephenson at Tue, 01/05/2010 - 20:31

I nearly choked on my morning coffee when I read your second point there, as I've had the same problem, but now I'm running HEAD, so have another set of problems I'm trying to figure out.

Imagine me being average Joe, trying out this "new" Linux thing everyone's been talking about. Ok, OpenSUSE it is, and now I'm at my desktop. Hm, there is my wireless network, *click*...nothing. hmm, that's weird, maybe the application's crashed...restart...still nothing. hm, what could be wrong?
Oh, I know, me being average computer skilled and all, I think I might check /var/log/messages from a terminal(!) and see if there might be a problem...

Am I the only onw to think there's a huge flaw in that design? Silently ignoring a problem is much, much worse than complaining. If something's wrong, particularly with something so important and visible as wireless networking, we need to know up front, not go around digging for arcane old files.

Not meaning to sound snarky or rude here, I'm sure you had your reasons, I'm just trying in my own little way to convey importance, and that this must surely be faulty behaviour.

By ignatus at Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:40

I agree 100%, I've raised this with the NM developers before. At the least NM could return a DBUS error to the activateConnection() call. Both nm-applet and NM use the same glib-based library for connections, so nm-applet cannot put an invalid connection on the bus and can't suffer this problem. It's not as robust as a desktop-independent API should be, is it?

By Will Stephenson at Wed, 01/06/2010 - 11:54

I had openSuse 11.2 running on my dell mini 9, everything just worked fine but after some updates (NM or NM-kde) it refused to connect to my WPA secured network. After downgrading it started working again. NM-kde really behaved strangely. It showed me the network but clicking on it did not lead to some reaction.


By adarmalik at Thu, 01/07/2010 - 09:14